Given my previous announcement of a theme and the subsequent absence of any posts for more than 2 months, one might readily conclude that I must not have been learning anything.
However, quite the opposite is true. In fact, I tend to think that God, having so much to teach my sorry soul, had to put me on sabbatical from some of my other imagined duties so that I would pay attention to Him.
There were times when I thought to myself: I must stop and write about this on the blog. However, it did not get done - for a number of reasons. One reason is that before I could formulate what I might say, I was busy learning something else. Another reason was that I could not fathom how I could possibly summarize what it was that I was experiencing in my spiritual life - or whether it was even appropriate for me to try.
It has not all been easy by any means. But I feel a corner was turned and a door opened. And, most interestingly, it was a corner that I didn't know I needed to turn and a door that I didn't know was closed.
Perhaps one of my greatest discoveries is how easy it is to think that I am a believer, a Christian, and how God, in his graciousness, can then show me how little I actually believe and how small my understanding of Him is. I can, in my pride, think that I am a pretty good person, only to discover that I am really quite the sinner.
But God, knowing how small and weak I am, has been patiently accepting me where I am all along. He knows I am but a baby learning to take my first steps - even though I might believe myself to be a grown-up. He nudges me to take more steps and then shows me how much more there is, once He can tell that I am ready to see it.
I expressed it to a friend that, since experiencing this spiritual growth spurt, it is as though I look back on what I thought was pretty good faith and now see it as this little dim, flickering light. What is more, I have the awareness and hope that someday I will look back on where I am now as a dim, flickering light when, in time, God opens yet another door and invites me further into Him.
There is no end to Him if I am willing to follow, as He opens more and more doors.
I entitled this post, "All good things..." as these three words begin three different adages, all relevant to me and my relationship with this lovely little blog.
First: "All good things must come to an end." Yes, I believe this blog has been a good thing but I also believe that the time has come for it to end. It will remain here so that all the little treasures I have received and shared will still be available to any who wish to view them. I simply will not be adding any new posts. (With one exception.)
If any are wondering why, I must say that I really don't know other than that is the call I feel. I began the blog 5 years ago Thanksgiving, answering the call from within with fear and trembling. Now it seems that it has completed its mission. I don't know how I know that, but I do.
Second, "All good things come from God." This also I believe firmly. If any good has come from this blog, it has been the gift of God. If my time and meager talents have been used in the writing, photography or art included here, I cannot claim credit because they too are His gifts. By myself, I am not at all trustworthy but I am ever grateful when God finds ways to make use of me for the service of others.
Lastly, "All good things come to those who wait." I include this saying because I believe that where one thing dies, another is born. It is often my tendency to want to make things happen to satisfy the longings of my own will - but that is a tendency I wish to leave behind. My will is of little importance in the greater Design of things.
I do have some sense of another blog wanting to be born. I do not know for certain if it is meant to be - or if the wait for its birth will be long or short. (However, if it comes about, I create a post on this blog with a link so that any readers who receive e-mail notifications of my posts here will be notified of the new blog, should they wish to check it out.)
And now, one final story and image. Any regular readers, should there be any left, will know that my father died in June and that he and I shared a love of butterflies. And so it is appropriate to bring this blog to a close with a story that celebrates the mystery of life and death and love through eternity.
On November 5, my father's birthday, I decided to go to church to remember my father in prayer. It was a warmer than average November day, but certainly not hot. As I approached the church door, I thought I saw a butterfly out of the corner of my eye. It seemed impossible. Butterflies just are not seen in November in Cleveland, Ohio. But I looked closely and there it was. Such a delight!
Now I was sorely tempted to delay church and take a picture. But I knew I was already risking being late and so I did not stop. I knew that it was not the picture that was important but the gift of encountering the butterfly itself.
About 30 minutes later, I emerged from the church and decided to take a look where my winged friend had been seen, feeling silly but unable to resist. At first I saw nothing but the surprisingly vibrant flowers in the cool afternoon sun. And then...there he was.
I fumbled with my cell phone camera and asked the little one if I might receive his image. He did not object. So now, I share with you my friends, a little gift from heaven:
Peace be with you, O my friends, and may grace and mercy be yours always. Whatever darkness you find yourself in, never lose hope nor cease believing in the light. You have been promised joy - eternal joy! Love, love, love always and you will know the Holy One, Who by love creates and sustains us all...
To Him be glory.